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Spectrum Health Targets ED Frequent Fliers for Primary Care

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 17, 2012

"Once we get them into the center they stay because they realize the approach we take is different," he says. "We don't fire them and we tell them straight up we don't care what they are doing that may have irritated other doctors in the past. We just need to know it so we can come together with a plan."

The center's treatment team uses addiction specialists, psychologist, RN case managers, and social workers to confront not only the medical issues—often pain, addiction, or both—that are driving these patients into the ED, but also the psychological and social issues that may be exacerbating the problems.

"Most of these patients don't know what do to. They really want someone to guide them through this," Waller says. "There are times when the RN case manager or social worker is able to guide them better than I do. We work together with each of the patients after we do our intake. Any plan I come up with has to be in line with the psychological side and the social side. We manipulate our plans so they work together and we present that to the patient before we finalize the plan."

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4 comments on "Spectrum Health Targets ED Frequent Fliers for Primary Care"


Deb McMaster (8/31/2012 at 8:09 PM)
This shouldn't be considered a one-size fits all approach. Therefore, assumptions should NOT be made about individuals that are taking prescription pain medications.

Ryan Nastaj (2/9/2012 at 1:17 AM)
Those os you who have posted, and there are currently two ahead of me, have not read the whole story behind this movement, This Dr. is a life saver, trust me when i tell you this, becuase i happen to be a patient there at the Integrative Medicine Group, the article left out the following, Dr. Waller is a Pain Medidcine Specialist, and addiction specialist and Emergency Room Doc also. The place doesnt only treat addictted patients to narcotics etc..it serves as a place to start then they transfer you to a regular primary doctor etc..So what the article said was he is an addiction specialist, thats is true but also treats Chronic pain and they do have other staff from network 180 which is a community or a place for the community to go for mental health , addiction stuff etc..when you go in you meet with several different people, from net 180 , dr. waller, a nurse, etc.. and they target your issues form various aspects. So thisis not just a place for addicts...just thought id let you know the truth

Cathy Martin (1/25/2012 at 9:23 AM)
I applaud Spectrum's concept. I think it will provide a very proficient way to ID patient's that will benefit from the program and give a very holistic approach to their care. However, I would caution that a program of 6 weeks is still in a honeymoon phase. I am a very "the glass is half full" person, but I don't belief that in 6 months to a year you will be seeing a sober rate as stated -"More than 90% have stayed clean since they started treatment here," he says. I would be interested in an update on the program's progress at 6 months and one year. I am hoping that Spectrum will share their program as a model for others and have great success with it as well.